Are you outraged? You're supposed to be. According to Peter Eliasberg, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, "everybody in the country" may have had their phone calls "combed through" for terrorist connections and, if that happened, he told The Washington Post, "lots of people will be outraged."
Would you be among them? Or would you, like me, be relieved to know that on at least this occasion, the government did its job?
Have you ever noticed in the newspaper death notices that the dead people pictured are always smiling? I find this encouraging. It suggests that they know something the rest of us do not.
At this time of year, I need some encouragement. With the funereal nature of the weather -- periods of gloom with an 80 percent chance of depression -- mortality weighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep, as the poet has written.
The FBI improperly used national security letters in 2006 to obtain personal data on Americans during terror and spy investigations, Director Robert Mueller said Wednesday.
Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the privacy breach by FBI agents and lawyers occurred a year before the bureau enacted sweeping new reforms to prevent future lapses.
Details on the abuses will be outlined in the coming days in a report by the Justice Department's inspector general.
A top lawmaker voiced fears Tuesday that US President George Bush's administration was negotiating deals with Iraq that would amount to an open-ended commitment to stage US combat missions there.
Administration officials say formal US-Iraqi negotiations will begin later this month on a legal framework aimed at keeping security policy options open for both countries beyond 2008, when the UN mandate for US forces ends.
A few years back -- some 30, to be exact -- the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency showed up at my office to ask that a story obtained by our Pentagon correspondent be withheld, not because it was inaccurate but because it would endanger the life of an operative inside the Soviet Union.
He made a very persuasive case that the information on which the story of Soviet laser technology was based was so tightly held that it was highly likely that revealing the United States had knowledge of it would point the finger at the source.
In more bad economic news, consumer confidence and home prices posted sharp declines while higher costs for such basics as food and energy left wholesale inflation rising at the fastest pace in a quarter-century.
The new reports Tuesday raised the threat of a return of "stagflation," the economic curse of the 1970s in which economic growth stagnates at the same time that inflation continues racing ahead.
A friend of mine committed suicide earlier this month. That's one way of describing what happened.
Another way of describing the event would be to say she died from anorexia nervosa.
Yet another description would be to say she was killed by a culture that, from the time she was a little girl, tormented her constantly about her body.
Here's an e-mail a 14-year-old girl sent recently to Monique van den Berg, an English professor whose blog is dedicated to, among other things, encouraging people to stop hating their bodies:
The Marine Corps has asked the Pentagon's inspector general to examine allegations that a nearly two-year delay in the fielding of blast-resistant vehicles led to hundreds of combat casualties in Iraq.
The system for rapidly shipping needed gear to troops on the front lines has been examined by auditors before and continues to improve, Col. David Lapan, a Marine Corps spokesman, said Monday night. Due to the seriousness of the allegations, however, "the Marine Corps has taken the additional step" of requesting the IG investigation, Lapan said in an e-mailed statement.
Just as with JFK's assassination and the Challenger explosion, I remember precisely where I was and what I was doing when I first heard about a school shooting. On Aug. 1, 1966, Charles Whitman collected his small arsenal and rode the elevator to the observation deck of the landmark tower on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. Thirty-two floors above the ground, he had an excellent field of fire in all directions and, an expert marksman, went on a murderous rampage before he was fatally shot by police.
A new St. Paul, Minn., police policy for investigating protest groups draws praise from police experts for its sensitivity to dissent, but criticism from those who worry that police will spy on activists leading up to the Republican National Convention.
"It looks like they are in the business of infiltrating groups," said Chuck Samuelson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, after reviewing a copy of the policy requested by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune.